So you finally graduated with a shiny degree in comparative literature from a respectable second-tier university. Congratulations! Now you are ready to take on the real world with a tremendous ability to fully articulate, with comprehensive examples, just how much you despise western literature and much prefer the poets of the Song Dynasty. But, my friend, you will have to take on this real world from the bottom. What? You thought your degree would propel you to middle management in a reputable publishing company? Ha ha, no. Sorry, times are tight and they don't really need you right now, guai lo boy. And no, you can't run off to get your Ph.D., not without a J.O.B. But your degree was good for something after all, something that will help you for the rest of your life. I am talking, of course, about the power of words. Yeah, it's cliche, but that doesn't make it any less true. To turn your job into a promising career, all you have to do is change your description of who you are and what you do.
For starters, there's your name. John Public doesn't cut it. It's just so common. John Public is the name you might see on a dropped ticket for a prestigious lecture on Homo-eroticism in 17th Century Flemish literature, not the one on the projector screen. First, you need to make it longer. John Q. Public or John Quentin Public will do just fine. Then, stick your degree at the end, so it becomes John Q. Public, B.A. or John Q. Public, B.S. Sure, everyone knows what those letters mean, but it doesn't look half bad, especially to the roughly 75% of people (in the United States at least) who haven't had the privilege of attending a university, and there's a good chance that cruel, cruel irony will make one of those 75% your boss at some point.
Didn't go to college? That's okay too, just tack any old abbreviation onto your name. For example, you, John Q. Public, can become John Q. Public, H.S.G. The H.S.G. of course means "high school graduate", but nobody has to know that, and boy does it look shiny. Dropped out of high school? No worries, just use John Q. Public, P.h.s. (meaning, of course, "participated in high school"). Anyway, I think you get the drift from there.
Now for the most important part: improving your job title. This is a very fine line to walk, as you want to pick a title which best obscures your actual duties but falls short of fraud. Almost any job can be given a little shine with words like "Professional," "Associate," "Engineer," "Consultant," "Analyst," etc. which don't really mean much of anything and aren't controlled by anyone. I have included a list below which shows examples of some of these techniques in use for jobs that one might want to enhance, in no particular order:
Unemployed: Freelance Career Information Gatherer
Unemployed (and a snob): Pro Bono Life Consultant
Janitor: Maintenance Engineer, or Sanitation Associate (Sorry, I'm afraid everybody knows about "Sanitation Engineer" already.)
Maid/Cleaner: Domestic Assistant
Window Washer: Vision Clearance Engineer
Delivery man/ Delivery woman: Product Distribution Associate
Host/Hostess: Guest Relations Officer
Waiter/Waitress/Server: Food Service Associate
Busboy/Busser: Food Service Associate
Dishwasher: Food Service Engineer
Cashier (any type): Sales Associate or Retail Representative
Temp/Temporary Worker (any type): Guest _______. (e.g., a temp in accounting would be a Guest Accountant, a temp in sales would be a Guest Sales Associate, and so on.)
Prostitute: Professional Companion (besides the obvious "escort")
Shoplifter: Merchandise Liberation Associate
Drug Dealer: Chemical Distribution Manager (if you run the show) or Associate (if you don't)
Criminal (multiple or unspecified type): Law Enforcement Auditor
Drug Addict: Professional Chemical Tester
Homeless: Urban Camping Enthusiast
Homeless (and recycle cans for money): Peripatetic Recyclist or Peripatetic Recycling Specialist
Homeless (and addicted to drugs/alcohol): Peripatetic Chemical Tester
Of course, there are many more jobs out there that can be similarly enhanced, just be creative and your boring job will look and feel like a promising career in no time at all!
Disclaimer: This is not a serious write-up. Please don't do this. Also, much love to comparative lit majors.